Courtesy Gaylord Entertainment
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gaylord Entertainment and Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Co. have entered into a memorandum of understanding for a joint venture to develop a 114-acre family entertainment zone adjacent to the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.
The Dollywood Co. will serve as the operating partner.
Groundbreaking is expected late this year or early in 2013 on the first phase of the development, an approximately $50 million water and snow park, the first of its kind in the United States. The park is slated to open in summer 2014.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean joined Dolly Parton and Colin V. Reed, chairman and chief executive officer for Gaylord Entertainment, at an announcement of the project in mid-January at the Grand Ole Opry House.
“This project will be a welcome addition to the wide variety of attractions and destinations across our state, and I applaud the collaboration and spirit that has led to this announcement,” said Haslam.
“The addition of this family entertainment complex near Opryland adds a critical missing piece to our tourist offerings,” said Dean.
The water and snow park, which will anchor the project, will provide a mix of high-energy water activities for the summer season and designated snow activities for winter play.
The Dollywood Co. manages Dolly Parton’s Dollywood, Dollywood’s Splash Country and Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
“We hope that some other developers with great ideas will join us for phase two of this project,” said Parton.
“We are reserving approximately 35 acres for expansion and complementary regional attractions,” said Reed.